The thing about mental health is that you have good days and bad days. Some days you can deal with it and some days you can’t. But the biggest thing is that you can’t call in sick when you can’t pull your shit together. When you’re splitting at the seams and you are so exhausted from holding it together and you just can’t anymore. As far as everyone else knows, though? You have a migraine.
The thing about mental health is that it isn’t taken seriously. I know this isn’t news to anyone. It’s at least not news to anyone that has a mental illness. But to everyone else that doesn’t know what it’s like? It’s invisible. They don’t understand how crippling it is. If you can’t see the damage or if you haven’t felt the damage, it just isn’t as bad as we say it is, right? Most people know what it’s like to go through a break up so you can sympathize. Most people have suffered a physical, painful injury – a broken bone, a laceration – so they understand. But when you feel out of control and like you can’t reign your feelings back in, they don’t get that.
It’s anxiety. Not, “I’m a little nervous about my exam today, my stomach won’t stop turning.” It’s throwing up, it’s crying, it’s worrying the second you learn there is something that poses the threat of stress in your future until you are too full of things to worry about that you break down. It’s keeping yourself awake at night worrying about every little thing you have ever done that you are unhappy about. It’s imagining every possible outcome to a conversation that has never and probably never will happen, with results ranging from maybe a little bliss to total devastation. It’s so much time.
It’s depression. Not a bad day, it’s an empty day. It’s insurmountable sadness that you can’t see past. You can’t see the top of the sadness mountain and you have zero desire to even try to figure out if it’s possible to climb. It’s when you start crying and you aren’t even sure why but you can’t stop. It’s a faucet that sprung a leak and you’re just leaking every sadness, but it’s not even cathartic. It’s not just having a good cry, it’s like the sadness just multiplies inside you until it overflows out, but you don’t feel any less sad. It’s literally like the movie, Inside Out, and how Sadness is just a constant mopey character. But it’s without Joy and Anger and Fear and Disgust to help even things out for you. It’s just Sadness.
It’s fear. Fear of where you’ll end up, fear of being alone forever because no one understands. Fear of how people will see you. Fear of losing your friends, your job, your apartment, your everything, because you are the way you are.
It’s apathy. It’s not getting off the couch, it’s not doing any chores or running any errands, because you can’t find the motivation. It’s not showering, it’s not eating, it’s just existing in bed or on the couch, to numb to do anything else.
It’s shame. It’s being ashamed of who you are, ashamed that you aren’t normal. It’s not looking forward to your boyfriend coming home and realizing that not only did you stay home from work, but you didn’t do anything all day and you’re embarrassed at your uselessness. It’s not wanting anyone to find out, not wanting anyone to see how cracked and broken you are.
It’s getting ready in the morning and driving to work, but being unable to stop crying. So you turn around, go home, and say you have a migraine.